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The breeding season is here once again and harness racing is in good heart if the number of trotting stallions available this season is any guide. For the last two breeding seasons trotting bred mare numbers have been holding up remarkably well when compared to their pacing counterparts. The number of pacing mares has been slowly dropping for a wee while now Two seasons ago the number of pacing mares served numbered 2582 but last season saw another drop of 185 mares to bring the total served down to 2397 However in the 2012/2013 breeding season 644 trotting mares were served by 31 stallions and in the 2013/2014 breeding season 617 mares were served by 29 stallions. In light of those figures it is somewhat surprising that the number of trotting sires available to breeders has continued to grow, especially via frozen semen.  In the upcoming season the number of trotting stallions available to breeders has risen to 36. In the last breeding season only four stallions served more than 50 mares for the year and between them that four captured 319 of the mares served leaving just 298 mares for the other 25 stallions. It is little wonder the average trotting breeder is getting confused and having trouble sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Some of the trotting sires available via frozen semen are well established such as Andover Hall, Angus Hall, Muscle Hill, Love You and Muscles Yankee but quite a few are new to the stallion game in New Zealand and it is hard to gage where they sit in the overall scheme of things. Of those available via fresh semen last year, the North American owned Majestic Son served 161 mares in New Zealand and with the season his stock had on the track he should serve a large book again this year. Superfast Stuart (54)  Monarchy (51)  The Pres (50) and Monkey Bones (40) were other sires available via fresh semen last season who served reasonable numbers and they all have one thing in common.  These sires are owned in New Zealand and represent a major investment by the studs/owners but with the number of sires available via frozen semen growing to 26 this year they may have a struggle on their hands to attract mares. If the number of European and North American sires available via frozen semen continues to grow, the days of New Zealand studs and owners standing sires they own via fresh semen may be coming to an end. Weather that is in the best long term interests of the New Zealand industry is highly questionable. Harnesslink Media

Here at Harnesslink, we thought we would be brave and offer our opinion on the Breeders Crown Finals as we head towards one of the seasons biggest harness racing days at Melton on Sunday. Our first preview is of the 2 year old trotters division.  2 year old Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park final for 2 year old fillies looks to be a battle between three fillies that are all sired via frozen semen and are all by stallions that are at the top of the siring charts in North America. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained daughter of Angus Hall in Arya looks very hard to beat here after an outstanding season in New Zealand which was followed up by a great second to the leading Australian male trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix in the Redwood Classic. Arya has been foolproof all season which in the 2 year old trotting ranks is a major plus and with no Endsino in the field she looks to have a class edge as well. Arya should come into five on the front line which is the perfect draw for here as she can stay out of the early rush and work to the lead without having to burn from the gate. The two main dangers to Arya have both drawn nicely on the front line and are both beautifully bred trotters. Glenferrie Burn who has drawn one is a daughter of the brilliant Muscle Hill from the 16 win Sundon mare in Adellas Dash ($102,626). She has developed as the season has progressed and looks a real chance from the draw to get a soft run. Val Gardena who has drawn three is a daughter of leading North American sire Kadabra from an Andover Hall mare. She has only missed a placing once this season in ten starts and comes into this race a last start winner. From her handy draw Blake Fitzpatrick has plenty of options with Val Gardena and she looks a major player here. Of the others Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty have both shown enough to be serious place chances but its hard to see them as genuine winning chances. Selections Arya clearly on top, followed by a combination of Val Gardena, Glenferrie Burn, Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty. 2 year old Trotting Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park Final for 2 year old colts/geldings has drawn a cracking field and the draw has only evened out the contest even more.  All the top contenders have drawn the front line with the favourite Eljaykay Phoenix fearing the worst with barrier seven. A son of champion sire Sundon, Eljaykay Phoenix has looked a class above them for most of the season but his recent defeat by Shared Interest has thrown this division wide open. Throw in his draw and the fact that all the real challengers have drawn inside him means if Eljaykay Phoneix and Joshua Aiken are going to win the final, they are going to have to do it the hard way. His main challenger is the son of Angus Hall in Shared Interest who has drawn beautifully at barrier two which gives Nathan Jack plenty of options Weather he tries to park Eljaykay Phoenix or takes a sit on his back, Shared Interest has the all round game to win the final. The chances don't end there with both Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck capable of toppling the favoured duo if things go their way. Illawong Armstrong finally gets a good draw and Jodi Quinlan will be hoping that the favoured pair go to war which then brings her horse right into play. The enigma of the field is The Pres gelding Primz Luck whose ring craft has let him down lately but who has ability to burn as he showed in New Zealand several times. Now in the Kerryn Manning barn and to be driven by her in the final, Primz Luck threw it away on his Australian debut in the Redwood Classic. Kerryn has had five weeks since then to iron out those kinks and if he gets around on Sunday they will all know they have been to the races. Selections. Can't split the two favourites in Shared Interest and Eljaykay Phoenix due to the draws but lean a bit towards Eljaykay Phoneix on his overall record. Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck are both live chances depending how the race is run. Throw in Kyvalley Boomerang, Fabrication and Hadrians Phoenix for trifectas and first fours.  Harnesslink Media    

August 1-7, 2014; At this point in the season, it's typical for 3-year-old horses at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs to be battling against others of their own age in Stallion Series or Sire Stakes action. Yet our two top performers of the week that was at Pocono dared to take on older horses. Not only did they survive, but they thrived. Here are the details of both their exploits and those of the other top performers as we hand out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: LUCK BE WITHYOU This 3-year-old colt from the Chris Oakes' barn started the season in Canada but quickly found a home at Pocono with a condition win on June 28 in 1:50:1. He then battled his way to a 7th in finals of the prestigious Meadowlands Pace before returning for an even more impressive victory in a blistering 1:48 on July 19. On Saturday night, Luck Be Withyou faced his sternest test yet by going up against the non-winners of $22,500 in the last five races grouping. Among the competitors he would have to face were Meirs Hanover and Bolt The Duer, a pair of veterans as talented and as tested as there are in the sport. If the relative inexperience of Luck Be Withyou was ever going to be a factor, this was the race. At the top of the stretch, the 3-year-old was staring at the tail of Bolt The Duer, who had set the pace and done so in reasonable fractions. Yet Luck Be With You was ready for the challenge when driver George Napolitano Jr. asked for another gear. He sped by a stunned Bolt The Duer and held off fast-closing E Street Plan for the win in 1:49:2. Even though the time wasn't as flashy as his previous win, this victory was the best evidence yet of this sophomore's incredible talent. Other top pacers this week include: Show Runner (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), a mare whose victory in Friday night's featured condition pace in a career-best 1:50:3 was her second straight win; Gold Deuce (George Napolitano Jr., Lou Pena), who powered to a win over $10,000 claimers on Saturday night in 1:50:4, a career-best and his Third Straight win; and Mach It So (Andrew McCarthy, PJ Fraley), who picked up a win in Saturday night's featured Preferred Handicap pace in 1:48:2, a new career-best and the fastest time posted this week at MSPD. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: REVRAC HARBOUR This award was probably a little overdue for this 3-year-old colt from the barn of trainer Tony Alagna. From June 3 to July 1, he ripped off four consecutive wins at Pocono, topping out with a back-to-back career-best miles of 1:54:1 in wins over the non-winners of four condition. He traveled to the Meadowlands after that and struggled against some of the top trotters in the country in a pair of stakes races. Revrac Harbour returned on Tuesday night to face all older horses in a non-winners of $13,000 in the last five starts condition trot. Back at Pocono again, he found his stride quickly by making a move to the front end early in the race. Yet Picture This, the race favorite, lurked behind him In The Pocket for much of the mile and enjoyed a much better trip. In the stretch, Picture This took to the inside passing lane and briefly seemed like he was about to get past. That's when driver Scott Zeron coaxed just a little extra effort from an already-taxed Revrac Harbour, who dug in and surged back in front in the final strides in 1:55:4 on a sloppy track. That makes it five wins in the last five races he's started at Pocono, with this maybe the gutsiest yet. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Zooming (Tyler Buter, Amber Buter),who shipped in from New York for a condition win on Saturday in 1:51:4, easily the week's fastest trotting time; Waldorf Hall (Corey Callahan, Jim Raymer), who churned through the slop for a condition win on Tuesday in 1:53:4; and Swiss Lightning (Anthony Napolitano, Kevin Lare), who ripped off his fourth straight claiming victory on Wednesday night in 1:54:4, matching his career-best in the process. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RESCUE PLAN It's not often George Napolitano Jr., the meet's leading driver, pilots a long shot, but this condition pacer was at 42-1 when G-Nap steered him to victory on Tuesday night for a $87.60 win payout on a $2 ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. Who else could it be this other than George Nap, considering that he won seven of the thirteen races on the card on Saturday and nearly pulled off a 20-win week. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: CHRISTIE COLLINS Collins' barn has been steadily gaining momentum in the summer months, and her trainees picked up three more wins this week, including a double on Friday. That will do it for it this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. Jim Beviglia          

You won’t see any cricket played at Bathurst during the winter months- except for the indoor variety – but as the racing season winds down, centuries and double centuries are occupying the thoughts of some followers and, particularly, leading participants. Amanda Turnbull looks odds-on to repeat last year’s “double ton” driving performance, while dad Steve is making a determined effort to achieve the same score in the training ranks. Nathan Hurst is just a handful of wins from a well-earned training century, and after a slow start, John O’Shea has worked his way into the mid-eighties in driving wins, and is some chance of achieving triple figures as well. What a remarkable achievement it will be for Bathurst harness racing should all reach those milestones. John O’Shea followed up his recent “five-for” with a double last Wednesday, with Queen Khawaja for Canowindra trainer Ken Rue in C0 company, and his own stable runner Vergels Girl in 2YO company. From the inside gate, O’Shea gave Queen Khawaja ($2.80 favourite) the run of the race behind leader Embellished, and the five-year-old mare finished too well for that horse, with death- seating Gatling Silver holding on for third. The winner is from a half-sister to another of Anne Lamb’s breed – a fella named Smooth Satin . Kennny Rue doesn’t have the same ambitions for this girl, but would have enjoyed this third win. Vergels Girl ($3.30) had been racing well in much stronger Breeders Challenge company than the field she was opposing here, and O”Shea drove her aggressively from outside the second line to take the lead in the early stages, skip clear on the turn then hold on from favourite Gentleman Red, which came again close to the line.  Flip Wilson NZ maintained its consistent form with a third from outside the lead. Steve and Amanda Turnbull didn’t crack it for a win until the final event, with Padabing Stride ($1.60 favourite) much too strong for his R0-R1 Competitive Stakes rivals, sitting in the death and drawing away for a soft win from leader Meredith Rose and trailer Carla Dream. It might have been a frustrating and disappointing night for the leading stable as they chased down their targets, but as reported elsewhere in this edition, things would soon improve markedly, with Steve training four at Wagga two days later, and Amanda driving her second Group One winner at Melton last Saturday. Other winners on the night were: Lifes Easy ($2.80 favourite) for Amy Day, in a C0 Tabcorp Menangle Where Horses Fly heat, where the Life Sign mare finished strongly from the running-line with a 59.0 last half. Amy will have a shorter and smoother trip up the highway for the rich final at the end of the month. Crackerjack Jo ($5.70) for Robbie Clifford and trainer Peter Trevor- Jones, in a C2-C3 sprint. The winner got clear late to get up right on the post, with a very impressive 57.7 final half. Robbie Clifford is having a deal of success as a catch-driver this season, and says he’s enjoying his opportunities. Giannis Bromac NZ ($2.30 favourite), a very “soft” winner for Emma Turnbull and trainer Wayne Watterson, in a C1 Tabcorp Park Menangle Where Horses Fly heat. She’d been working the track down at home, and her driver, who’s having a terrific run this season, was very impressed by the ease of the win. Truly Miss Terious NZ ($47.60) belied its price with the night’s biggest winning margin of 13 metres in a heat of the C1-C2 Penrith Mayors Cup, for Jason Turnbull. Trainer Wendy supplied the quinella in the race, through runner-up Likeallofus. The winner will not start at those inflated odds in tonight’s Cup final at Penrith. Hells A Coming ($3.40 favourite) for West Wyalong visitor Peter Birks and driver Scott Hewitt, made up for a close second at her last start at this track, with a good win from the one-one in 3C0- 3C1 Fillies class. It was the third win from just eight starts for the filly, and completed a good night for the western visitors who had an earlier placing with Coopers Beach Boy. News that the lighting towers have been positioned at the new Mt Panorama track was the talking point among locals and visitors at the meeting. The interest and excitement is building. Marianne Donnelly Bathurst Harness Racing Club

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - As a racetrack owner, Jeff Gural has been a winner at Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and more recently with the Meadowlands. As a racehorse owner and breeder, Gural has enjoyed plenty of victories including the current nine-race winning streak by his 4-year-old trotting mare Perfect Alliance. But Gural will experience even a first for him in Friday's first race at the Meadowlands when Gural the horse-owner faces Gural the horse. Gural is a part-owner of 3-year-old trotting colt Propulsion, a $250,000 purchase by noted pedigree expert Myron Bell. Propulsion, a royally bred son of Muscle Hill out of Hambletonian Oaks winner Danae, was fifth last week in his first career pari-mutuel start. Among Propulsion's eight opponents on Friday is Gural Hanover, a 3-year-old Crazed gelding, owned by Jesse and John De Long. Gural Hanover sold for $17,000 at the 2012 Harrisburg sale, but won his only career pari-mutuel start last September at Balmoral Park. He makes his Meadowlands debut on Friday for trainer Heidi Rohr. "I guess the pressure is on Myron to deliver with our expensive horse," said Gural, "but I'm looking forward to watching Gural Hanover race too." by Rachel Ryan, for the Meadowlands

Veteran Northam harness racing trainer Jesse Moore hit the jackpot when he outlaid a mere $NZ5000 for a filly at the New Zealand premier yearling sales in Christchurch early last year. The filly, named Tricky Styx, repaid Moore handsomely for his cheap gamble when she stormed to a brilliant victory in the $50,000 Slater Gartrell Sports Midland Champagne Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night. "I just happened to fluke buying this filly in New Zealand," the 69-year-old Moore said after Aiden De Campo had driven Tricky Styx, a 27/1 tote outsider to a runaway win in the 2130m group 2 classic. "I never buy horses for myself and we just happened to fluke this one and I bought her for my wife Maree." The $5000 New Zealand converts to $4670 in Australian currency and the filly is already a tremendous bargain. She has had five starts for three wins and stakes of $44,285. For many years Moore has had the reputation as one of the State's best trainers of juvenile pacers and Tricky Styx gave him his fourth success in the Champagne Classic, after wins with Nixon Adios (1975), Wirrpunda (2001) and All Four Firing (2002). Tricky Styx became the ninth filly in the 45-year history of the classic to win the event, following the successes of Jidaley (1971), Deep Decor (1974), Chryso Mou (1976), Whitby Tolez (1991), Whitbys Merit (1993), Nowuseemenowudont (2000), Sheza Clout (2006) and Arma Xpress (2012). And the 22-year-old de Campo was following a wonderful family tradition in the Champagne Classic. His late grandfather Ray de Campo trained Perene Maverick (1988) and Patmos (1990) for their wins in the race. Those youngsters were driven by Aiden De Campo's father Andrew, who also won the event as a trainer-driver with Pawnee Gold in 1995 and Nowuseemenowudont five years later. Tricky Styx, the only filly in the field, has been a problem horse for Moore, beginning badly once and breaking in running twice in her four runs before Friday night's event. Moore made a point of thanking fellow Northam trainer Mike Williams, saying: "He is a special person I'd like to thank. He has done all the work on her and drives her in her trackwork. She was a bit of a handful when we first brought her over." Not only did Tricky Styx have to overcome the not insignificant task of beating the colts and geldings in the race, but she had to overcome the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 7) on the front line. Tricky Styx was slow in the score-up and de Campo wisely restrained her back to last while the Persistent Threat, unbeaten at five starts and hot favourite at 2/1 on, set the pace with first Coeur de Whitby and then The Odd Lover in the breeze. When Matt White urged Three Bears forward 900m from home de Campo followed the three-wide run. Tricky Styx was still in ninth position passing the 550m mark when she unwound a sparkling burst. The Odd Lover gained a narrow lead 220m from home before Tricky Styx exploded on the scene and charged to the front 120m from the post. Tricky Styx won effortlessly by three lengths from The Odd Lover, with almost four lengths to Persistent Threat in third place. The final 800m was covered in 59.3sec. and Tricky Styx rated 1.58.2 over the 2130m journey. That was the fastest recorded by any winner of the classic over 2130m or 2100m. The only faster rate recorded by a winner of the Champagne Classic was the 1.58.1 by Sportsmans Dream in 1992. Pawnee Gold rated 1.58.2 when he won in 1995. Both those races were decided over 1700m. Aiden De Campo was full of praise for Tricky Styx, a big, well-grown filly by American stallion Jeremes Jet out of Pocket Rain, a New Zealand-bred mare who produced Go West U Terror, a star two-year-old in WA four years ago when he won the Western Crown Classic and a heat and final of the Pearl Classic before finishing second to Ohokas Bondy in the Golden Slipper Stakes. Go West U Terror has had 42 starts for 15 wins, 11 placings and stakes of $196,971. "Her manners haven't been the best, but her turn of foot is something that I've not experienced before with a two-year-old," he said. "When I pulled her out she went past them a lot quicker than I expected. Then about the 300m I thought she might be coming to the end of her run. But I asked her to go again and she picked up the bit and got the job done." REUBEN BROGDEN BACK ON TRACK New Zealand-bred five-year-old Reuben Brogden looks set for a successful campaign after scoring an effortless win over 6/4 favourite Dominus Vobiscum and Dee Devito in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Seel N Print Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. At his third start after a spell and third favourite at 4/1 from the outside of the back line, Reuben Brogden simply was too classy for his rivals. Owner-trainer Gary Elson has worked hard to get the gelding back into top shape and reinsman Kim Young predicts bigger and better things for the pacer who was a shining light in November-December 2012 when he won a prelude of the Golden Nugget and finished third behind Im Victorious in the final. "The good early speed tonight was to his advantage and he was strong enough to get around and do his business," Young said. "He had plenty of petrol and he's a strong horse. Everything worked out fine. Hopefully, he'll go on with the job. He hasn't come back to the form he showed through the Nugget time, but hopefully he's on the right track now." This was Reuben Brogden's first success since winning the Bridgetown Cup 12 months ago and he now has earned $103,026 from 13 wins and ten placings from only 32 starts. Reuben Brogden settled in eighth position in the one-wide line before Young made his winning move, dashing the gelding forward 1350m from home and then gaining cover behind the three-wide run of Uncle Kracker. Reuben Brogden forged to the front 420m from home and coasted to victory by four lengths. OHOKA SQUIRE-WOODLEY COMBINATION STRIKES AGAIN Star reinsman Morgan Woodley and New Zealand-bred five-year-old Ohoka Squire have formed a wonderful winning association. Woodley took his record behind Ohoka Squire to four wins and a second placing from eight drives behind the Christian Cullen gelding when he drove him to a smart victory in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Jake And Lola Pathway Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. At a gift price of 14/1 after sound placings at his two previous starts, Ohoka Squire, trained by Greg and Skye Bond, enjoyed the run of the race in the one-out, one-back position before charging home, five wide, to snatch a neck victory over Vertical Four in a four-way photo finish. Jasper Freeway, the 4/1 second fancy, was first out from barrier five and got to a one-length lead early, but was unable to cross the polemarker and 10/1 chance Time Passenger. Ohoka Kentucky, the 10/9 on favourite, settled in the one-out, one-back position and Robbie Williams sent him forward, three wide, approaching the bell. Jasper Freeway got to a narrow lead 260m from home and he fought on grandly to be a very close fourth. Vertical Four, who trailed the pacemaker, finished strongly to be a neck second, with a nose to Ohoka Kentucky. Ohoka Squire ended a losing sequence of 12 and looks set for further successes. A winner at his only start in New Zealand, at Wyndham in February 2012, the gelding now has had 34 starts for eight wins and 13 placings for earnings of $50,404. He is bred to be a good winner. His dam All My Art (by Falcon Seelster) won only twice rom 23 starts, but has produced outstanding performers Ohoka Nevada (98 starts for 40 wins, 29 placings and $505,757) and Ohoka du Nord (82 starts for 19 wins, 25 placings and $185,567). Ohoka Nevada won group 2 events, the 2009 Kilmore Cup, the 2009 Cranbourne Cup and 2011 Mildura Cup and the group 3 Winter Cup at Menangle in July 2012. He also was placed behind Smoken Up in the group 1 South Australian Cup in 2011 and 2012. KOROBEIT ANGEL SURVIVES EARLY SPEED BATTLE Champion reinsman Gary Hall jun. freely admits that Korobeit Angel is not renowned for her strength, but the four-year-old New Zealand-bred mare revealed an excellent competitive edge when she survived a hectic early battle for the lead in the 1730m Slater Gartrell Ash And Gemma Breeders Stakes prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Favourite at 2/1 from barrier No. 2, Korobeit Angel had to be driven hard to get to the front after 350m following a speed battle with polemarker Courage On Fire and Am Opulent. The opening quarter of the final mile whizzed by in 27.7sec., virtually setting up the race for the swoopers back in the field. But Hall was able to get Korobeit Angel to relax and go through the second quarter in 30.3sec.before covering the final sections in 29sec. and 29.4sec. to win by just under a length from Jungle Genie, with one metre to Am Opulent in third place. Korobeit Angel rated a slick 1.55.8 as she improved her record to 32 starts for 12 wins, nine placings and $90,075 in stakes. A winner of five races in Victoria, she has raced 19 times in Western Australia for premier trainer Gary Hall sen. for seven wins and five placings. "There were concerns after the early burn," Hall jun. conceded. "She's not blessed with a great deal of toughness, but she surprised me tonight. I thought she toughed it out really well after that early burn. I think that the key to that was the way she was able to settle once getting to the lead. "When Jungle genie loomed up on the home turn I definitely thought that she had our measure. She got to us very comfortably and I had to go to my filly (mare) first and to her credit she responded really well and dug deep when she needed to." IMA GRUMPY JASPER RELISHES No. 1 BARRIER The immense benefit of the prized No. 1 barrier at Gloucester Park was yet again illustrated when Ima Grumpy Jasper, who had managed one placing from his past 14 starts, was a solidly-supported 7/4 favourite for the 2130m Slater Gartrell Alex And Amy Pace on Friday night. Backers of the favourite were on good terms with themselves as Chris Voak drove the Victorian-bred five-year-old to an easy all-the-way win, beating Arousing by just over a length. Arousing, who trailed the leader all the way, was a neck in front of Bronze Seeker, who raced four back on the pegs and rattled home along the inside before being hampered for room in the closing stages. After a slow lead time of 38.3sec. Ima Grumpy Jasper reeled off sections of 30.1sec., 30.4sec., 28.6sec. and 29sec. to record a mile rate of 1.58.2. Ima Grumpy Jasper, whose previous win was in an $8000 claimer at Melton 12 months earlier, is trained by Annie Belton and now has raced 50 times for nine wins, five placings and stakes of $51,037. Voak said that he was confident of success after the gelding drew the inside barrier. "When he last led (two starts ago) the winner (Shirlz Sensation) went 1.56.6 (over 2130m) and he finished fifth and rated a touch over 1.57," he said. "And from the pole tonight in a field which was a lot weaker than he raced against when he last led, this was, in my opinion, his race. Barring a very fast lead time, he looked the winner from the draw. "But a bit of pressure in the first quarter left a question mark hanging over him. But the lead time really set it up for him and he only had to run a mile. Every time I touched him with the whip he responded and gave something." DAVIES KEEPS HER PERFECT RECORD Kiara Davies maintained her 100 per cent record behind speedy New Zealand-bred gelding Little Boy Blue when she drove him to an effortless victory in the 2130m Slater Gartrell Sports Thornlie Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night. This was her third drive behind the Bob Mellsop-trained five-year-old for three very easy wins. "He's a lovely horse to drive," Davies said as she thanked Mellsop and his wife Val (who owns the gelding) for giving her the opportunity to drive the pacer. "I'm now getting some of the best opportunities I've ever had, driving some extremely nice horses." Little Boy Blue, a heavily-supported 7/4 on favourite, began smartly from the No. 4 barrier and he raced three wide early before Davies sent him past the polemarker Celtic Crusader and into the lead after 420m. Little Boy Blue then dictated terms and he sped over the final 400m in 28.7sec. to give his rivals very little chance of overhauling him. Little Boy Blue was not extended in winning by three lengths from 9/1 chance Our Arlington, who sustained a powerful finishing burst. Celtic Crusader (20/1) held on to finish third ahead of Benjamin Banneker. Little Boy Blue rated 1.56.6 and advanced to an M4 classification. He has earned $142,986 from 15 wins and 21 placings from 61 starts. SHARDONS ROCKET OVERCOMES 30m HANDICAP Evergreen pacer Shardons Rocket made light of the back mark of 30 metres and maintained his grand form when he won the 2503m Slater Gartrell In The Force Handicap at Gloucester Park on Friday night. Colin Brown seized the initiative and made a winning move when he sent the nine-year-old forward, three wide, after 600m to move into the breeze, with 3/1 favourite Bartowski setting the pace. Shardons Rocket, third fancy at 4/1, kept the pressure on Bartowski and the first two quarters of the final mile went by in 29.3sec. and 29.5sec. before he surged to the front with 650m to travel. Shardons Rocket covered the next section in 29.3sec. and held on grimly to defeat 22/1 chance That Is Correct by one metre after a final quarter in 30.1sec. He rated a commendable 1.58.6. Bartowski succumbed to the constant pressure and wilted to finish tenth. Shardons Rocket continues to be a wonderful campaigner and he now has a splendid record of 151 starts for 28 wins and 50 placings for earnings of $323,217. He is trained at Byford by 67-year-old Tony Svilicich, who claimed him at Pinjarra on March 31 this year. The New Zealand-bred gelding had been trained for the previous few years by Svilicich for owners Ashley and Gavin McPhail. Shardons Rocket was claimed at Pinjarra on February 17 this year by Eric Chabros and was forced to leave his stables. And then Svilicich jumped at the opportunity to claim the gelding at Pinjarra on March 31. Since then Shardons Rocket has won twice and finished second once from five starts. "It was just enormous again; his last three runs have been fantastic," said Brown, who had to drive the old gelding vigorously in the final lap. "I know which one of us pulled up short of a run, and that's not him. I've got to know him out of a stand and it is just a matter of getting used to him. The thing is that Tony likes them flying out of a stand and making up the ground as quickly as they can. "Tony told me when I first started driving him that you've got to be up there eyeballing. If you give this horse half a chance to knock off, then you won't finish in the placings. It might not look too tidy, but that's the way the horse goes best." LEWIS HAPPY TO FILL IN FOR CORTOPASSI Champion reinsman Chris Lewis has happy to substitute in the sulky behind Shandon Village in the 2536m Slater Gartrell Allira And Jett Pace on Friday night while the veteran gelding's trainer Aldo Cortopassi was on the sidelines, serving a 120-day term of suspension. Cortopassi was suspended for causing interference in a race at Pinjarra last Monday week and he was granted a stay of proceedings to enable him to drive Shandon Village last Friday week. Shandon Village produced a powerful finishing burst to win at 12/1. Despite that impressive victory, Shandon Village was neglected by most punters on Friday night and was a 7/1 chance. He raced in ninth position before Lewis sent him forward approaching the bell to follow the three-wide run of Soho Monza. Conniving Major Dave, who went forward to move to the breeze after a lap, dashed past the pacemaker What God Knows 400m from home. But Shandon Village carried too many guns and forged to the front in the final stages to beat Conniving Major Dave by a neck, with 3/1 favourite Ohoka Courage running on from seventh at the bell to be third. by Ken Casellas

Barry Purdon has gone to the bench and called in a super-sub for Friday night's Group I New Zealand Derby at Addington. One of the most successful horseman in Derby history, Purdon has enlisted champion reinsman Ricky May to drive his charge Sky Major in the $175,000 event. Initially the North Island horseman came south with a view to driving the Group I winner himself, but May's availability proved too good to pass up on. "I want to give the horse the best possible opportunity," Purdon said yesterday. "Ricky is one of the best in the business, it makes sense to use him. "He knows all the opposition and their racing styles and he's one of our best in the big races." Purdon's record in the Derby is exemplary, although he hasn't started a horse in New Zealand's greatest three-year-old race since The Cavalier (11th), who he trained in partnership with Scott Phelan, ran in the 2008 edition, and then you have to go back to 2004 to find his next starters; High Calibre (9th) and Derek Bromac (11th). Purdon's five winners came during the 90s, including a golden period where he and his father Roy won four consecutive editions of the race with Kiwi Scooter (1992), Mark Roy (1993), Ginger Man (1994) and Il Vicolo (1995). He was successful on his own accord with Holmes DG in 1998. For May, the race hasn't been quite so kind. He's yet to claim a victory in 22 attempts with just three placings on Spring Alot (2004), Colonel Anvil (1999) and Happy Patron (1986) all he has to show for his efforts - a remarkable statistic considering some of the three-year-olds he has driven in his career. A brave fifth placing in last week's Flying Stakes gives Sky Major more than an outside chance of beating some of his talented opposition, although an outside barrier draw hasn't exactly helped. "We haven't had a great run of barrier draws with him," Purdon said. "But it could turn out to be a good one if there is plenty of speed in the race, Ricky's patient driving style could work right in our favour. He was super last week I thought, he just had to do too much work, but he has come through that run really well. "Now we just need that luck to fall our way." While one Purdon had to scratch his head at yet another average barrier draw, another was smiling after some good fortune. Purdon's brother Mark will line up four horses in the race as he shoots for his third consecutive victory and his 12th victory overall as either a trainer or a driver. And all four have drawn inside the first five marbles with Messini going from barrier one, Aldo Rossi barrier two, Isaiah barrier four and Alleluia barrier five. Gun three-year-olds Locharburn and Tiger Tara had mixed results in the draw stakes with Locharburn drawing six and Tiger Tara one on the second line. By Matt Markham (Courtesy of THE PRESS)              

PROMINENT Tasmanian harness racing owners Jamie Cockshutt and Barry Cooper have never been shy about spending a decent amount on horseflesh from New Zealand and it looks as if another of their purchases will at least pay his way. Something Eyre (Ohoka Arizona-Glentara) faced the breeze for most of the race in Hobart last Sunday night but made light of the task to go on and score a comfortable win in a 3C0-3C1 over 2090 metres. Lade Elaine made full use of the pole position to lead and with Gareth Rattray aboard she set a solid tempo in front while Ricky Duggan allowed Something Eyre to sit three-wide early as he gradually made his way to the spot outside of the leader. Duggan didn't allow his charge to eyeball the leader until he wanted to apply the pressure about 500 metres from home. By doing this he ensured the favourite Soho Wonder, that trailed the leader, was kept in a zip-fastener pocket until well into the home straight. It proved to be the winning move. Something Eyre forged clear 200 metres out and he had a big enough break to stave off Soho Wonder that flashed home late to go down by only a half-neck with the leader Lady Elaine clinging to third spot three metres away. It was Something Eyre's second win from only four starts in Tasmania but it was clearly his best effort. Duggan was impressed with the performance and believes the gelded son of Ohoka Arizona has a bright future. Listen to what driver Ricky Duggan had to say about Something Eyre's latest performance. By Peter Staples

VICTORIAN pacer Outrageous El extended the list of interstate horse to have won the Group 3 Tasmanian Derby in recent times when he led all the way to take out this year's edition of the classic event for three-year-olds. With experienced reinsman Gavin Lang in the sulky, Outrageous El stepped straight to the front from the pole position (1) and he was never headed, going on to score comfortably from another interstate invader Lake Eyre with local hero Resurgent Spirit a close-up third. Resurgent Spirit was attempting to break the al-time record for the most number of consecutive wins in Tasmania but after facing the breeze for the duration he was unable to deal with the pressure in what was one of the best fields to contest the race in many years. Outrageous El delivered the goods and realised a dream for his owners and it also was an unexpected result for the gelding's trainer Adam Kelly who admitted connections had bought the horse in New Zealand for $30,000 without expectations of winning a Group race. It was the gelding's fifth win in succession and he was the best horse on form in the race and Lang rated the horse superbly in front. Lang, rated one of the nation's best reinsmen, has been a regular visitor to Tasmania over  the years and had driven in many Tasmanian Derbies but this was his first success. Listen to what trainer Adam Kelly had to say about Outrageous El's Tasmanian Derby win. By Peter Staples  

When it comes to siring your first winner, it rarely comes more impressively than Primz Luck. The talented two-year-old trotter easily accounted for a field of maiden trotters at Alexandra Park last night and looks set for the upcoming age group features. Driven by trainer James Stormont, Primz Luck, who is currently the only New Zealand qualifier by The Pres, settled in the one-one before pouncing quickly on his rivals in the home straight and racing away for a comprehensive 2 & ½ length win. The speedy youngster, who looks a natural two-year-old type, is now third on the Harness Jewels Leader Board, and looks set to carry on the family tradition and qualify for a Jewels Final. Primz Luck, who is out of Sundon mare Howz Lucky, is remarkably the younger half-brother of four trotters who have qualified for Jewels Finals including Madisonz Luck, who finished second to Kylie Ree in the 2YO Ruby in 2010. The Pres, who won four races in America from just nine starts, is a son of champion sire Andover Hall out of Hambletonian Oaks winner Southwind Allaire (Valley Victory). The Pres recorded a best time of 1-55.1 when winning at Pocono Downs in June of 2008 and currently has multiple two-year-old winners in the USA. He currently stands at Wai Eyre Farm for a fee of $3,250 plus GST. Stormont also enjoyed success at Alexandra Park last night with promising three-year-old Mum’s Pride, while Letz Elope claimed the feature Kumeu Stakes at Group Three level. By Mitchell Robertson

Noel Kennard couldn’t have scripted yesterday any better if he had tried. With more than 300 members of his go-Harness syndications on course to enjoy a day at the race meeting they were sponsoring, all that was left to do was produce them a winner. And Kennard and his right-hand man Johnny Robinson did exactly that – with a little help from Hamish Hunter and Colin DeFilippi. They were victorious with Southland pacer Astro Boy who overcame an early gallop to steam home down the outside of the track and claim victory in an impressive fashion. The success was the perfect advertisement for harness racing with hoards of owners making their way into the winners circle to celebrate the win and Kennard said seeing that made all the hard work worth it. “I’ve put a lot of expectation on myself with these syndicates and this day,’’ Kennard said. “So to see something like that happen right in front of my eyes and to see all the joy in the owners as they came into the birdcage was really special. “We haven’t had the best of luck, but hopefully this is the step back in the right direction we have needed.’’ While the Astro Boy win was a clear highlight of the day – there were plenty of honourable mentions as well. Jerry Garcia was rewarded for consistency when he claimed the Akaroa Cup for trainer and driver Leo O’Reilly. The Jereme’s Jet gelding had run in the money 16 times from 26 starts prior to yesterday but took his winning tally to seven for his career with a dominant win. Away safely from the stand O’Reilly sent the four-year-old forward with a lap to run to find the lead and he was able to then hand up to back maker, and favourite Arising Easton who took him to the top of the straight. From there he dashed away and held off the late challenge of Magna in the $12,000 feature. Earlier in the day both Jackie Law and Karen O’Connor made their way into the winners circle after long absences. O’Connor struck first with her own trotter Regal Moment who made great use of a grand run in the trial to boot up the insider and win with a bit in hand. It was her first victory since she drove Datmymulligan to success at Methven in March of 2012 and it also took her to 98 career driving wins. Law had a little longer wait in between drinks as you have to go back to 2007 when Dorothy Morris won at Waimate to find her last winning driver with only 17 drives in between victories. She was successful with debutant Surfin Tsunami who rocked the punters with a $70 winning quote in a big maiden pacer. Law trained Dreamaway Jess to win at Addington in 2009 where she was driven by Ricky May By Matt Markham (Courtesy of The Press).

Harness racing prominent breeder-owner Pat Driscoll knocked down the three top-priced lots at the second Pryde’s EasiFeed Australasian Premier Trotting Sale held at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 23. Driscoll, who trades as Yabby Dam Farms, pocketed a cool $119,000 for his three-strong draft including the sale topping colt at $41,000, a son of USA superstar Muscle Hill out of the Malabar Maple mare Calder Luck, a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 placegetter Calder Sensation, Calder Image and Bella Cheval. The handsome youngster was bought for a syndicate by John and Maree Caldow, who developed and trained Calder Sensation, a winner of 16 races and $142,762. An Angus Hall colt out of Maori’s Dream, the grand-dam of the top priced lot, realised the second highest price of $40,000. He was knocked down to Romsey trainer Chris Alford on behalf of stable clients Phil Walshe and Craig Nott. While another of the Muscle Hill progeny, a colt from the USA bred Let’s Be Happy, the dam of Bathurst Gold Coronet winner Verbier, was garnered by Christchurch trainer Tim Butt for $38,000. Two Angus Hall youngsters, one out of the Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step (1:57.4) and the other from the useful Sundon mare Pinevale Ellason, realised $30,000 and $28,000 respectively. Majestic Son, a leading sire of juvenile trotters, had three head sell including a gelding out of the R C’s Dee Jay mare Howdoudo, the dam of Vicbred champion Split Image, which was haltered by Chris Lang Jnr for $30,000. Two Majestic Son colts out of strong New Zealand-bred mares from Harness Breeders Vic committeeman Gerard Moloney’s draft sold for $22,000 and $20,000. Former local champion Skyvalley was the sire of the highest priced filly Aldebaran Eve, out of the Victoria Oaks winner Aldebaran Dream, consigned by Aldebaran Park and sold for $18,000, while a Skyvalley colt from the 2YO and 3YO Trotter of the Year Jauriol realised $20,000. Running Pinevale, also a Victoria Oaks champion, was represented by her second foal, a colt by NZ-based import The Pres, who was knocked down for $22,000. Of the 36 lots offered, 31 were sold for an average price of $16,359, up almost 25 percent on last year. by Peter Wharton

Columbus, OH --- The 2014 USTA annual meetings are scheduled for Sunday (March 30) and Monday (March 31) at the Hilton Columbus at Easton in Columbus, Ohio. Following Rules and Executive Committee meetings in the morning on Sunday, the Board of Directors general session, which will be streamed live on the USTA website (www.ustrotting.com), will begin at 12:30 p.m. (EDT). Keynote speaker for the general session will be Ohio State Racing Commission Chairman Robert Schmitz. Among the topics on the agenda are: the introduction of new USTA directors, proclamations and recognition of former directors, an election of officers, the president’s report from Phil Langley and executive vice president’s report from Mike Tanner, a financial report, presentation/vote on revised bylaws, and rule change proposals. The final item on the general session agenda will include a discussion of medication rules and a presentation on harness racing’s social media initiative by Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, the USTA’s social media marketing agency. Meetings are scheduled Sunday afternoon and Monday morning involving the following committees: Fairs, Pari-Mutuel, Regulatory, and Registration-Owners/Breeders on Sunday and Driver/Trainer, Finance, Rules and Communications/Marketing on Monday. The President’s Awards luncheon honoring 2014 recipients Bob Carson and Gabe Wand will be held on Sunday at 11:45 a.m. The 2014 USTA annual meetings will conclude with a general session commencing at 2:30 p.m. (EDT) on Monday that will include committee reports, ad hoc committee assignments, approval of the budget, and announcement of the location and dates for the 2015 annual meetings. All USTA members are welcome to attend the meetings with the exception of the Executive Committee, which is limited to committee members only. Visit www.ustrotting.com for the live video stream of Sunday’s Board of Director’s general session from 12:30–3 p.m. (EDT) as well as daily recaps of the important news from the meetings. From the USTA Communications Department

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its 2014 ballot. A total of 36 horses and people, including 18 Standardbred racing candidates and 18 Thoroughbred racing candidates have been selected to appear on this year’s ballot. A 20-person Election Committee for each breed will declare the winners in their respective categories.  Results will be announced Tuesday, April 8.   On the Standardbred ballots representing this year’s six voting categories are as follows: Male horse category, Blissfull Hall, J M Vangogh and Rocknroll Hanover In 1999, Blissfull Hall captured harness racing’s elusive Pacing Triple Crown.  Owned by Ecuries Daniel Plouffe, Inc. of Bromont, QC, this champion was trained by Ben Wallace with Ron Pierce as regular driver.   A 31 race career over two seasons amassed a record of 19-4-6, a mark of 1:49.2 and earnings of $1.4 million before embarking on a successful career as a stallion. J M Vangogh, purchased as a yearling for $4,500 by Paul Chambers of Harrington, Delaware, made a remarkable recovery from an accident in the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final as a two year old to earn $2.28 million in 206 starts over 8 seasons and the nickname “The Comeback Kid”.  Rocknroll Hanover banked more than $3 million during his race career, for owners Jeffrey Snyder of New York; Lothlorien Equestrian Centre, Cheltenham, ON; and Perretti Racing Stable, LLC.  Career highlights include victories in Canada’s most prestigious races for two and three year olds, the Metro Pace and the North America Cup.  He then embarked on a second career, becoming one of North America’s most prolific stallions before passing away in 2013. Female horse category: B Cor Tamara, Dreamfair Eternal and J Cs Nathalie Before embarking on her second career as a broodmare, B Cor Tamara enjoyed a productive racing career, earning more than $185,000.  Bred and owned by Peter Core of Dresden, ON, the daughter of Dream Of Glory was the dam of 19 foals, including star trotter B Cor Pete, and granddam of two champion juveniles, Banker Hall and Broadway Hall.  Her offspring have earned in excess of $2.7 million. Dreamfair Eternal retired from racing in 2012 after a career spanning seven years, 56 victories, including every stake event on the older pacing mare schedule, earning over $2.5 million and being named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010.  The daughter of Camluck was bred, raised and owned by John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON with Patrick Fletcher receiving training credit. As a broodmare, J Cs Nathalie has produced two millionaires for owner John Lamers of Ingersoll, ON -- pacing colt Dreamfair Vogel, and pacing mare Dreamfair Eternal.  Dreamfair Vogel was a winner of 19 races and over $1.1 million with a mark of 1:49.3.  Dreamfair Eternal, a winner of 56 races and over $2.5 million in purse earnings was Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2010. The trainer-driver category: Yves Filion, William Gale, and Wally Hennessey. Yves Filion, 67 of Saint-Andre-D’argent, Quebec was one of his province’s premier trainer-drivers for close to 30 years driving in almost 18,000 races with 4,362 wins and $26.5 million in earnings.   Training credits include 248 winners and horses earning in excess of $3.4 million.   Pacing colts Runnymede Lobell and Goliath Bayama each became millionaires with Filion responsible for both training and driving. William Gale, 65 of Woodstock, Ontario, was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the 70s, 80s and 90s. Between 1982 and 1997, Gale recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.  During his career, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. Wally Hennessey, 56, of Prince Edward Island, has more than 8,200 victories to his name and has banked earnings in excess of $55 million.  In the late 1990s, he enjoyed success with the trotter Moni Maker, a winner of $5.5 million and numerous stakes including the Nat Ray in three different years, the Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown.  In the summer of 2007, Hennessey was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Candidates in the builders’ category: Dr. Ted Clarke, John B. Ferguson and Robert Murphy. Dr. Ted Clarke is recognized by his peers as a visionary in the horse racing industry.  Highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Clarke’s strong and steady leadership has helped guide Grand River Raceway to be a leader in innovation and growth.  Before Grand River, Clarke led numerous initiatives to put Elmira Raceway on the path to stability, including the inauguration of Industry Day, the Battle of Waterloo and the establishment of the Ontario Teletheatre Network. John B. Ferguson may be best known for his time in the National Hockey League, but his passion for Canadian horse racing was drawn from early years spent with his father and grandfather at old Hastings Park in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to his role as a very active owner and breeder, Ferguson also took a role in track management.  He was hired by Blue Bonnets in Montreal and after leaving hockey became the President of Windsor Raceway.  He was also one of driving forces behind the formation of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The late Robert Murphy, a native of Vancouver, BC, one of Canada’s most respected horse breeders and owners, was known by his popular Red Star moniker.  First introduced to racing at Cloverdale Raceway in 1980, he rapidly became one of Canada’s most prolific owners.   He averaged 935 starts as an owner each year between 2005 and 2009.  In 2007, at the age of 74, Murphy owned more Standardbreds than anyone else in Canada. Outstanding Standardbreds: Albatross, Artsplace, and Happy Lady Albatross was voted US Harness Horse of the Year in 1971 and 1972.  He won 59 of 71 starts, including the Cane Pace and Messenger Stakes in 1971, and earned in excess of $1.2 million.  As a sire, Albatross's thousands of sons and daughters have won more than $100 million. Artsplace was the1992 O’Brien Award and Dan Patch Award winner as Horse of the Year following an undefeated four-year-old season.  He was a two-year-old world record holder winning the Breeders Crown in a time of 1:51.1 at Pompano Park in Florida, soundly defeating champion Die Laughing.  He won 37 races and bankrolled over $3 million during his racing career which saw him race many times in Canada before becoming a world class sire. Happy Lady, a daughter of Most Happy Fella, raced in 1977 and 1978 for owners Myra Masterson of St. Catharines, ON and Linda Lockey of Ridgeville.  Though her race career was brief, she won $528,825 in purse earnings and attained a mark of 1:55.2.  Trained and driven by the late Jim Rankin, she was almost flawless in her juvenile campaign, winning 15 of 16 races.  As a sophomore she won 19 of 24 starts. Communicators category selections: Harry Eisen, Bill Galvin and Frank Salive. The late Harry Eisen spent a lifetime loving and covering horse racing in Ontario.  As a lifelong journalist, he spent many years exposing the sport to the public, including the majority of his 40 years at the London Free Press.  Eisen who once said he saw his first harness race when he was “three or four years old”, sold tip sheets at Dufferin Park Racetrack as a boy.  He was inducted into Western Fair’s Wall of Fame in 1980. As a publicist, promoter and author, Bill Galvin, a native of Arnprior, ON made a tremendous impact on horse racing in Canada. Galvin’s promotions transcended racing.  He led a charge to bring ice horse racing to the Rideau Canal and expose the sport to thousands of potential fans.  He started the Race for MS fundraiser to gain exposure for the sport, and ran numerous other high profile campaigns dedicated to the health of horse racing during his career. Leamington, ON native Frank Salive was known for over 35 years as “The Voice” of Canadian harness racing.  During his career it is estimated he called over 100,000 races, becoming a fan and industry favourite for his knowledgeable and informative calls and silky voice.  Frank’s career as a track announcer began at Sudbury Downs in the late 70’s and continued at tracks throughout Ontario,  includin  fourteen years at Ontario Jockey Club/Woodbine Entertainment Group harness tracks and concluding at Pompano Park, Florida.  Salive was also a regular writer for the Canadian Sportsman for several years. From the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

The 2014 stake schedules for both Balmoral and Maywood Park have been released by racing secretary Doc Narotsky. The action kicks off at Balmoral on March 29th with the Taurus Bomber Stake for Illinois conceived and foaled three-year-old pacing colts. Maywood’s stake season gets underway on Friday, April 11th with sophomore pacing colts slugging it out in the Sportsmaster Stake. The first “major” state-bred stake of the season will be contested on Sunday, May 18th with three-year-old pacing fillies squaring off in the $45,000 Violet Stake at Balmoral. There will also be Violet and Cardinal Stakes for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters on Sunday, May 25th, Wednesday, May 28th, and Saturday, May 31st at Balmoral Park. Maywood’s first big event of the season will be the $100,000 Filly Maywood Pace for ICF three-year-old fillies on Friday, June 13th.  The $100,000 Maywood Pace for ICF sophomore pacing colts will be held the following Friday, June 20th. . The first Hanover Stakes of the season at Balmoral Park will feature a pair of events for three-year-old trotters on Saturday, June 7th.    The Southland Festival of Racing will provide a weekend filled with state-bred action at Balmoral on Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th with pacers and trotters squaring off in $50,000 battles like the Mini Me Stake, Loyal Opposition Stake, Incredible Finale Stake, Ann Vonian Stake, Kadabra Stake, Fox Valley Evita Stake, Fox Valley Flan Stake and Plesac Stake. A pair of $50,000 Hanover’s for two-year-old colt and filly pacers are scheduled for Saturday, August 2nd at the Crete oval while a pair of $60,000 events for freshmen trotters will be contested on Sunday, August 3rd. Balmoral will also play host to Illinois’ biggest night of racing, Super Night, on Saturday, Sept. 13th.  As always, the state’s top pacers and trotters will be on display as they battle for more than $1 million in purse money. The prestigious American National’s kick off on Wednesday, Sept. 17th with a pair of $90,000 trotting stakes for two-year-olds. October will be a busy month for the youngsters as the $100,000 Lady Lincoln Stake for two-year-old trotting fillies takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 1st while their male counterparts battle in the $100,000 Lincoln Land Stake on Sunday, Oct. 5th Balmoral Park. Maywood will also host the $60,000 Cardinal and Violet Stakes for two-year-old colt and filly pacers on Friday, Oct. 3rd. If the last few years were any indication of things to come then racing fans throughout the country will want to circle Saturday, Oct. 11th and Friday, Oct. 17th, on their calendars as some of North America’s best pacers and trotters are expected to visit the Chicagoland area as Grand Circuit action comes to town. Balmoral Park will play host to the $250,000 three-year-old colt pace, $225,00 American National three-year-old colt trot, $200,000 American National Aged Pace, $180,000 aged trot, $175,000 American National three-year-old filly pace, $150,000 three-year-old filly trot, $125,000 two-year-old colt pace and $125,000 two-year-old filly pace approximately one month earlier than in recent years.    Maywood’s biggest card of the season is just six days later on Friday, Oct. 17th with the $225,000 Windy City Pace for three-year-old pacing colts, the $130,000 Abe Lincoln Stake for two-year-old pacing colts, the $110,00 Galt Trot for three-year-old trotting colts and the $100,000 Cinderella Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies sharing the spotlight. The $30,000 Associates-McKeever Stake for ICF pacers is also scheduled for that same night. Below is a complete list of both tracks entire stake schedules. All purse values are estimated. Date       Day Track A-S-G ICF Name Est Purse 3/29/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Taurus Bomber 10,000 4/5/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Song Cycle 17,000 4/5/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Direct Balance 10,000 4/11/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Sportsmaster 10,000 4/13/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Trotting Tilly 10,000 4/16/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Speedy Rodney 10,000 4/18/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Desperate Lady 10,000 4/26/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Rambling Willie 17,000 4/26/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 4/27/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Koochie 10,000 4/30/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Iggy Magoo 10,000 5/2/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Taser Gun 10,000 5/3/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/11/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Violet Eliminations 10,000 5/11/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/14/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 5/16/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Gosox 10,000 5/18/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Violet 45,000 5/18/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Violet Eliminations 10,000 5/21/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Cardinal Eliminations 10,000 5/24/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Cardinal Eliminations 10,000 5/25/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Violet 40,000 5/28/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Cardinal 40,000 5/31/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Cardinal 45,000 6/1/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Jimmy Sunshine 5,000 6/4/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Egyptian Grande 5,000 6/5/2014 Thur May 3fp ICF Filly Maywood Pace Elim 10,000 6/7/2014 Sat Bal 3ct Hanover 35,000 6/7/2014 Sat Bal 3ft Hanover 35,000 6/8/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Bingo Johnnie 5,000 6/11/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Misty Misty Misty 5,000 6/13/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Maywood Pace Elim 10,000 6/13/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Filly Maywood Pace 100,000 6/14/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Broadway Preview 30,000 6/14/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Southern Rocketop 10,000 6/15/2014 Sun Bal 2cp ICF Wicked Brew 10,000 6/15/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Million Dollar Bye 5,000 6/18/2014 Wed Bal 2fp ICF Incredible Tillie 10,000 6/18/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Star Slinger 5,000 6/20/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Maywood Pace 100,000 6/21/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Sue Fee 20,000 6/22/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/25/2014 Wed Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/26/2014 Thur May 2fp ICF Juxtaposition 10,000 6/27/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Enzo The Baker 10,000 6/28/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 6/29/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Mystical Victress 10,000 7/2/2014 Wed Bal 3ft ICF Sorce Ann 10,000 7/4/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Cook County 30,000 7/5/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Hot Head 10,000 7/5/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Ohyouprettything 10,000 7/6/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Vaporize 10,000 7/9/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Psychic Spirit 10,000 7/9/2014 Wed Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Diva 10,000 7/10/2014 Thur May 2fp ICF My Metallica 10,000 7/11/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Fox Valley Barzgar 10,000 7/12/2014 Sat Bal 3cp Hanover 45,000 7/12/2014 Sat Bal 3fp Hanover 40,000 7/13/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Brandenburg 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Mini Me Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Loyal Opposition Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Incredible Finale Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3ct ICF Kadabra Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3fp ICF Ann Vonian Elim 10,000 7/19/2014 Sat/Sun Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Evita Elim 10,000 7/20/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Plesac Eliminations 10,000 7/20/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Fox Valley Flan Elim 10,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Mini Me 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Loyal Opposition 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Incredible Finale 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Kadabra 50,000 7/26/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Ann Vonian 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Fox Valley Evita 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Plesac 50,000 7/27/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Fox Valley Flan 50,000 8/2/2014 Sat Bal 2cp Hanover 50,000 8/2/2014 Sat Bal 2fp Hanover 50,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 2ct Hanover 60,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 2ft Hanover 60,000 8/3/2014 Sun Bal 3+T ICF Mikes A Mystery 25,000 8/16/2014 Sat Bal 3+P ICF Big Tom 40,000 8/16/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Parklane Powerful 40,000 8/29/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Egyptian 30,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B Eliminations 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat/Sn Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann Elim 15,000 9/6/2014 Sat/Sn Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes Elim 15,000 9/7/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad Elim 15,000 9/7/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed Elim 15,000 9/10/2014 Wed Bal 2ct American National Elim 15,000 9/10/2014 Wed Bal 2ft American National Elim 15,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Orange & Blue 250,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Filly O&B 225,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3+p ICF Tony Maurello 115,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Pete Langley Mem 170,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad 100,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3fp ICF Grandma Ann 170,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed 100,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes Cons 25,000 9/13/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Lorna Propes 115,000 9/14/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Su Mac Lad Cons 25,000Date Day Track A-S-G ICF Name Est Purse 9/14/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Lady Ann Reed Cons 25,000 9/17/2014 Wed Bal 2ct American National 90,000 9/17/2014 Wed Bal 2ft American National 90,000 9/20/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Yates Eagle 15,000 9/20/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Thrifty Way 15,000 9/24/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land Elim 15,000 9/26/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Cardinal Elim 10,000 9/26/2014 Fri May 2fp ICF Violet Elim 10,000 9/27/2014 Sat Bal 3cp ICF Bye Bye Byrd 15,000 9/28/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land Elim 15,000 9/28/2014 Sun Bal 3fp ICF Direct Dottie 15,000 10/1/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land Cons 25,000 10/1/2014 Wed Bal 2ft ICF Lady Lincoln Land 100,000 10/1/2014 Sun Bal 3ft ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/3/2014 Fri May 2cp ICF Cardinal 50,000 10/3/2014 Fri May 2fp ICF Violet 60,000 10/5/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land 100,000 10/5/2014 Sun Bal 2ct ICF Lincoln Land Cons 25,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 2cp American National 125,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 2fp American National 125,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3cp American National 250,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3ct American National 225,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3fp American National 175,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal 3ft American National 150,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal ap American National 200,000 10/11/2014 Sat Bal at American National 180,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 2cp Abe Lincoln 130,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3+p ICF Associates-McKeever 30,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3cp Windy City Pace 225,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3ct Galt 110,000 10/17/2014 Fri May 3fp Cinderella 100,000 10/18/2014 Sat Bal 2fp ICF Beecher 10,000 10/19/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Violet Elim 10,000 10/22/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Cardinal Elim 10,000 10/26/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Violet 40,000 10/26/2014 Sun Bal 3ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/29/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Cardinal 40,000 10/30/2014 Thur May 3ft ICF Speed N The Tunnel 10,000 10/31/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 10/31/2014 Fri May 3fp ICF Giggles The Clown 10,000 11/1/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Crete 10,000 11/2/2014 Sun Bal 2fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/2/2014 Sun Bal 2ft ICF Monee 10,000 11/5/2014 Wed Bal 2ct ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/6/2014 Thur May 3ct ICF Lifes A Holiday 10,000 11/14/2014 Thur May 3fp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/15/2014 Sat Bal 2cp ICF Betzotic 10,000 11/21/2014 Fri May 3cp ICF Cole Muffler 10,000 11/22/2014 Sat Bal f&m p ICF Fox Valley Memory 15,000 by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral & Maywood Park

Are you ready for some harness racing action? Well post time is 6:30 this Saturday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs!  Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to get everyone ready for the 2014 season of Harness Racing. In addition to a great night of horse racing, there are a number of special events being planned throughout the season Including some special guests to the track with major league baseball greats Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt making special appearances.  Steve Carlton will be there on April 14 and Mike Schmidt will stop by on June 28th.  h Then the very popular Kentucky Derby Day at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is set for Saturday, May 3 .  The race track will feature the biggest party around with events set for day and night and something fun for everyone! For the opening night race card there is a top flight $25,000 Preferred Handicap Trot featuring Modern Family taking on Twin B Spike Man, Daylon Magician and Baximum. There are also four $15,000 opening round divisions of the Bobby Weiss Series with up and coming stars A Stitch In Time, Shark Fantasy, Dreamlands Art, Giant Sculpture and Dinner At The Met, all heading their repsective divisions. During Tuesday's Press Conference, Michael Bean, the President and CEO of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs welcomed everyone to another exciting season of Harness Racing beginning on March 22. Dale Rapson, Vice President of Racing Operations outlined the many race events that will be featured this season. Jennifer Starr, Racing Marketing Manager promised a fun-filled race season filled with special events and promotions that will be keep race fans and those new to Harness Racing coming back for more! The Harness Racing at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Season kicks off Saturday March 22 and runs through November 22 by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com.

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